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Average wage in Russia barely enough to survive

November 08, 2011, 15:32 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila

MOSCOW, November 8 (Itar-Tass) —— On the eve of the elections in Russia the authorities have announced an increase in the wages and salaries of certain categories of citizens. However, the average wage remains low and it is enough only to pay the utility bills and buy food and clothes. A majority of Russians are pessimistically-minded.
As of January 1, 2012 the military’s cash allowances will be increased 2.5 - 3 times, and military pensions, 1.5 - 1.7 times, as follows from a bill President Dmitry Medvedev signed into law on Monday.
The monthly earning of a rank-and-file contractor in the Armed Forces will be 25 thousand rubles (surpluses and bonuses included), the remuneration of sergeants on contract, about 34 thousand rubles, of lieutenants, about 50 thousand rubles, and of colonels, over 60 thousand. ($ 1 = 30 rubles).
Meanwhile, according to the statistics service Rosstat, in September the average monthly salary of Russians amounted to 23.6 thousand rubles, and incomes per capita, to 20.1 thousand. According to sociologists, more than half of Russia's population (53%) have enough money only for food, clothing and utilities. Then one has to choose: leisure and entertainment or something more or less substantial. For both people will have to save for a long time. Really expensive purchases, which include housing in the first place, are affordable to less than 1% of Russians.
For daily needs (food, utilities, transportation and other expenses, which are simply impossible to avoid), Russians spend about 70% of their revenues, says Novyie Izvestia. It is believed that the share of food expenditures in the family budget is the clearest indicator of its prosperity. The richer the person, the less the share of spending on food, and the other way round. In developed countries families spend on food by about 25% of the monthly income. The situation in Russia is different.
The Levada-Center says that to buy food 23% of Russians spend two-thirds of income, another 20% spend a little less than half, and 10% have to spend all their money on food.
According to Novyie Izvestia estimates, the minimum monthly set of foods for one Russian costs 7 thousand rubles. Clearly, such costs include no delicacies. Then there follow the house rent and the utilities, travel expenses, purchases of medicines, repairs, dry cleaning, and the hair dresser. Domestic pets take away about one thousand rubles a month.
Even if one does not buy any clothing or household items, very little will be left for culture and leisure. In the provinces the price of theater tickets ranges from 250 rubles to 350 rubles. Ticket prices at Moscow’s theaters start at 600 rubles. The average bill in a Moscow cafe per person is 500-600 rubles, and in the regions, from 150 rubles to 250 rubles. The average price of one book - 300-350 rubles.
The remaining money can be spent on the purchase of household appliances. But in this case a new small TV set will have to be saved for no less than six months.
The incomes as they are, it is clear: despite the fact that the "iron curtain" fell long ago, most Russians have never been abroad and will never have a chance to go there, the newspaper says. The prices of a week-long tour to Europe without excursions range from 35 thousand rubles to 45 thousand.
Buying an apartment with one’s own money in a major city is still an unattainable goal for most Russians. To purchase a standard one-room apartment the people with an average wage will have to forget about all expenses, including meals, for decades. For the purchase of one-room apartment in the capital an employed Muscovite will have to save 100% of the earnings for about 12 years, says Nezavisimaya Gazeta with reference to the realtors.
In order to buy a one-bedroom apartment on the secondary market in a large Russian city the average earner who has only one’s own wage to rely on would have to save money for at least six years, or at the most, for 40 years. The newspaper says if the researchers took into account the fact that Russians can afford to set aside only a half or one-third of their salary, then the result would be even more disappointing.
But the real luxury for the average Russian is not an apartment or a car, but children. The average family spends on one child 15-17 thousand rubles a month. And what if there are two children, and the mother has to rear them alone? This is precisely the case of 29-year-old Yulia Sergeyeva. "I have two children, one is seven and the other, five,” she told Noviye Izvestia. ”On each I spend 14-15 thousand a month."
Irina Vlasova spends on her five-year-daughter a little more.
"I have to spend roughly 15-20 thousand rubles a month," she said.
"An income of 20 thousand rubles is only enough to make ends meet,” said a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Leonty Byzov. “Of course, one cannot say that the money is enough to survive, it would be an exaggeration. After all many Russians go on living and still manage to somehow rear children. But that's pretty tight. You cannot save anything, you have to abandon pay education and medicine, and quite often, rest and leisure." The scientist says that over the past two decades Russia has seen a radical change in the structure of expenditures, however, citizens' opportunities have remained at the same level, and for some categories they have significantly narrowed.
The last opinion poll by VTSIOM showed that 16% of the population fear that next year they will live a worse life than they do now.
The network agency Amitel has conducted a survey of readers by asking them one question: "Do you think that next year you (your family) will live a better life or a worse life than now?" Of the 611 respondents 246 people believe that their life will be slightly or significantly worse.
140 respondents think that the situation will not change. Optimists, who think that their life will be much or somewhat better numbered 119.